Andover Recipients of Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards

“Huddled Masses (Yearning to Breathe Free)”

“Why Can’t Granny Remember?”

“Broken Hope”

“Golden Hour Village”

“Bedroom — 2020”

“Floating, Flipped, Frozen”


The Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards recognize creative teens to celebrate the development of a personal voice and technical skill through art or literature, according to its website This year, over 20 Andover students were awarded Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention awards within the Massachusetts Region. Several students won multiple distinctions, including Alex Park ’21, who won four Gold Keys, and Emily Boon ’23, who won a Gold Key and was nominated for the American Visions Award, the nomination being the highest overall regional honor––awarded to only five people per region.

Alex Park ’21

“My [favorite submission] was a piece depicting two people, one of them is sort of trapped in a blanket, but also with the Statue of Liberty wrapping around her. So she is sort of trapped by this idea of liberty, and then there’s another one that next to that, that is somebody trapped, also in a straight jacket, but it is covered in different logos. That one is supposed to represent how there is sort of this lie of liberty and democracy in the American Dream.”

Emily Boon ’23

“I based this piece on an old picture of my grandma in an attempt to represent the loss of her childhood. My grandma had a really hard childhood, but now as she’s getting older, memories from her childhood are beginning to escape her… The idea is that when my grandma holds the painting, it’s like she’s looking into her memory, and seeing the other versions of her walking away. The glowing light that seems to be flowing onto the canvas represents a washing over of the memories.” 

McKenzie Williams ’24

“My favorite [photograph] out of all of my submissions would have to be ‘Broken Hope.’ The subjects in it were my brothers during a moment of silence for George Floyd. I really like the juxtaposition in it because my older brother, who is 18, is looking downwards. He has been stung by racism a lot of times, but my younger brother, who is young and hopeful, is looking upwards.”

Dora Lu ’24

“I’ve submitted works to the [Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards] since seventh grade, and I have been given the honor to receive three National Gold Medals, which allowed me to go to New York. I met many excellent artists and writers and was given the opportunity to view national works in person. That experience opened my perspective and gave me inspiration to continue to create works with meaning.”

Vanessa Fan ’23

“For the Gold Key award, it was an oil painting of a room in my house, and I was sitting on a chair looking outside, and it sort of reminds me of how we are quarantined and sort of stuck in here looking outside.”

Jessica Xu ’23

I assume that people could have multiple interpretations of this piece; I can see it being representative of how humankind is often trapped between ‘natural’ elements, looking very bulky and out of place (as the suitcase is). Not only do we get many things wrong about how to fit into the natural world, but our decisions, our wonderful human ‘innovations,’ end up having a pretty catastrophic impact on the other organisms we share our planet with.”